Hall of Fame inductee Dave Mercer recalls being winning pitcher in state championship game

Dave Mercer (12) was the winning pitcher for Chippewa Hills in the 1983 Class B state championship baseball game. (Courtesy photo)

REMUS — No one in the area has had quite a moment like Dave Mercer did in 1983.

He was the winning pitcher in a state championship baseball game.

The former Chippewa Hills and Michigan State baseball player nearly 35 years ago to the day pitched a complete-game beauty against Coloma in the Class B state championship game at Eastern Michigan University to give the county its first state high school baseball titlist.

Next Tuesday, in a special Mecosta County Hall of Fame ceremony (6:30 p.m. at Hemlock Park), Mercer will be inducted and join other former teammates in the Hall including brothers Mark and Rick Sellers.

Chippewa Hills defeated Dearborn Divine Child 7-3 in the semifinal, then Mercer was given the ball to throw against Coloma in the title game. Mercer allowed one run, got the final out in the seventh and for Chippewa Hills fans, the celebration was on.

Mercer was a three-year varsity player who was all-conference his junior and senior years. He was first team all-region as a senior and had a 0.46 ERA in state tournament games. Mercer was 19-0 as a varsity pitcher and started at eight different positions.

As a hitter, “I was decent,” Mercer said. “I stepped my game up. I was about a .500 hitter in the big games. I was like a .340 hitter overall.”

Mercer played one season at Michigan State as a preferred walk-on, and decided to retire from competitive baseball and focus on academics.

“I then stepped onto an intramural field and found out you can play this game for fun,” he said.

Mercer now lives in the Big Rapids area, and is still active on the ball diamond.

“I came back out of retirement to play (Big Rapids) coed softball with my daughter (Haley) on Friday nights,” he said.

It was 35 years ago when Mercer was the winning pitcher in a state title game. The entire county honors him on Tuesday.

“I’m excited,” he said. “It’s kind of cool. I love it.”

He’s also been playing in recent years with the Old-timers who have their game after the Hall of Fame ceremonies.

“I’m playing again this year,” he said. “So this is going to be sweet.”

avatar

Posted by John Raffel

John is a sports reporter with the Pioneer as well as the Herald Review and The Lake County Star. He also coordinates the weekly Pioneer sports outdoors page. He can be reached at (231) 592-8356 or by email at jraffel@pioneergroup.com.

Leave a Reply